By Christopher DeHarde, IndyCar Correspondent
SPEEDWAY, Ind. – It hasn’t been the case that Graham Rahal is the senior figure of the drivers in a race team.
Until this year, that is.
Rahal has a new teammate for at least three races this year with 2015 Indy Lights champion Spencer Pigot. Pigot, four and a half years Rahal’s junior, is the only change that has come to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
“These things are going to happen, right? I mean over time, you’re going to get that,” Rahal said. “Yeah, they call me the young gun but I’m not anymore, I’m 27 and there’s a lot of guys younger than me. Spencer, I have high expectations for him and what he can accomplish. I mean, I know I’m not the young guy anymore but that’s all right, I’m cool with it.”
Despite bringing in a new car for a few races, Rahal is adamant that the team should not change very much from 2015.
“We’re going to keep it as it has been, we’re going to keep the group of people that we have, make no changes or as few as possible,” Rahal said. “You know we had a great year, and you don’t fix what’s not broken. We’ve strengthened the team in a couple of areas but truthfully the core of the team will be the exact same, the operations will be the exact same and I’m looking forward to it.”
“I hope [adding Pigot] helps, you know that’s the biggest thing when we look at a second car, a second car always has to add to what we’re doing on the 15. It can’t be a distraction, and that will be the biggest key for Spencer I think this year is to figure out how he fits into that role, but I’m sure he’s going to do a great job, he’s a good kid and you know we’ll just see how it all unfolds here.”
Honda had an uphill climb in order to be competitive in the Verizon IndyCar Series last year, but this year Rahal has been bullish about Honda’s pace through preseason testing, as have many of the other Honda drivers.
“Our plan is to beat them, it’s what we’re here for,” said Rahal. “So I think they’ve progressed quite a ways, but I would also fully anticipate that Chevrolet has too. We don’t do this to finish second, that’s the long and the short of it.”